Hannibal Lechter is running the show, and even if it is his alter-ego Sir Anthony Hopkins whoï¿½s at the wheel of this ride, it could just as easily have been Hannibal the Cannibal pulling the strings. Hopkins is a literal one man show. He wrote, directed, composed the score, and starred in this abysmally horrible film. I wouldnï¿½t be surprised if he pitched in on a couple of coats of paint here and there as well. One man ego driven artistic films are often messy, but Slipstream goes far beyond messy. Itï¿½s an impossible film to watch. By the time it was over my head hurt so bad I thought Iï¿½d just been beaten over the skull with a two by four for the entire hour and a half. Some will call it art and praise it, either because of the respect Hopkins carries, or because theyï¿½re simply too afraid to admit they hated it. If you say you loved this film, youï¿½re lying. The entire running time is nothing but a merciless assault of disconnected images, erratic cuts (as many as dozens in a minute), endless chatter, and an overindulgence of cinematic style over substance. The film makes David Lynch look tame by comparison.
The plot, you say. You want to know the plot? Beats the heck outta me. I just watched the thing and I canï¿½t tell you what itï¿½s about. The best I can piece together is that Hopkins is playing a screenwriter whose latest film seems to be unraveling. Iï¿½m sure thereï¿½s some deeper meaning, but itï¿½s lost on this reviewer. Lately thereï¿½s been a lot of debate over torture and terrorists. I think Congress needs to address this kind of brutality. The entire film is one long manic assault on the senses. Iï¿½m reminded of the famous scene in A Clockwork Orange, where the man has his eyelids propped open and is forced to watch unspeakable brutal images. Please donï¿½t make me watch it again. Iï¿½ll tell ya anything you wanna know.
Does it really matter? I mean, cuts are so frantic that getting a real read on the transfer quality is almost impossible. It is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and for the most part the picture appears to be sharp. It is my understanding that it was filmed in HD. Of course, many of the manic cuts include historical footage or images from other films and television shows. The image seldom remains static enough to make a difference in what kind of condition the print is. For the first time in my many years of writing reviews I have no idea if I saw a good print or not. Did I mention my head hurts?
At least the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit easier to pin down, but not by much. The sound is as cluttered and frantic as the images. Voices overlap and unidentifiable sounds intrude for no apparent reason throughout the film. You will be able to hear whatever is intended to be heard. The fringe voices and sounds Iï¿½m going to assume are meant to be unintelligible. Did I tell you how much my head hurts yet?
There is an Audio Commentary with Hopkins. He admits the film has no structure or order and doesnï¿½t really seem to mind it at all. He obviously considered it an exercise and a poke at the industry he has railed at often before. I donï¿½t know if I said anything about it or not, but my head really hurts.
Dreaming Slipstream: Hopkins appears to be in love with paradox. Thereï¿½s no symbolism, yet itï¿½s saturated with symbolism. Have you ever had one of those cascade dreams? You know the kind, where you wake up from a dream and eventually discover youï¿½re still dreaming? Thatï¿½s this 15 minute feature in a nutshell after watching the film. If this is what Hopkinsï¿½ dreams are like, can you imagine the nightmares?
Deleted Scenes: More of the same with these 3 sequences totaling just under 12 minutes. In one he takes a jab at Oliver Stone and his film Alexander. Tony, you should talk.
Iï¿½ve never had a nightmare. Folks find that strange, but I just never have. I have longed to have one if only for the experience. But if this is what theyï¿½re like, you can keep ï¿½em.
I didnï¿½t know Hopkins dropped acid. Honestly, thatï¿½s the only way I can explain what I just saw. In the filmï¿½s premiere Hopkins said: ï¿½I know there are things in it that will piss people off and I just donï¿½t careï¿½. Great, now he tells me. OK. Iï¿½m a reviewer and once in a while I have to take the hits so you donï¿½t have to. Just donï¿½t let my suffering be in vain. Stay away from this film at all costs. Once itï¿½s yours, you canï¿½t get rid of it. The case refuses to be burned, broken, or mutilated. I dropped it off deep in the Everglades only to return home, walk into my theatre and THERE IT WAS! Now there are news reports of mutated gators. Run. Run while you still can from this ï¿½dream within a dreamï¿½.